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Custombuckers

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
I'm quite disappointed in these pickups. I try to keep my custom shop guitars mostly stock, but I always end up swapping out the custombuckers. The latest is a Murphy Labs R9. This one has a neck pickup that reads 7.3k, and yet it's still dark and a bit weak too...so I'm pulling the custombuckers yet again...sigh. Can't wait to see Gibson replace these with a new PAF clone. Make them bright and punchy, or with sweet mids, but none of that anemic A3, please. 😎
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,966
It is just as likely they just don't agree with the wood.

If they are dark and muddy I might suggest Lollars which have always been clear and piano-like for me.

I am sure there are many other brands that would work as well.

And yes; I have found some Custombuckers to be "not as nice" as others so I am not saying they can't be "less".

But if you switch them keep them.

They might be sterling in something else.


And forgive me if this is a "duh" for you, I am throwing this out there for new folks who read this.
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
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As an aside, I have found much more variance since everybody started going the "underwound" route on Custombuckers.

I think they used to be quite a bit more consistent.
 

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
It is just as likely they just don't agree with the wood.

If they are dark and muddy I might suggest Lollars which have always been clear and piano-like for me.

I am sure there are many other brands that would work as well.

And yes; I have found some Custombuckers to be "not as nice" as others so I am not saying they can't be "less".

But if you switch them keep them.

They might be sterling in something else.


And forgive me if this is a "duh" for you, I am throwing this out there for new folks who read this.
Yeah, could be, but it's the third set of these that disappoint. I'm not that picky but I want a reasonably bright neck pickup and it seems you never get that with the custombuckers. I put a set of Sheptone Tributes with A2 magnets in my R7. Sounds awesome now. I have an old standard with Brandonwound 59s. Great pickups. Even a Duncan Jazz delivers.
 

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
As an aside, I have found much more variance since everybody started going the "underwound" route on Custombuckers.

I think they used to be quite a bit more consistent.
I get why they try that, but it's quite an accomplishment when an underwound CB is still muddy. :LOL:
 

LeonC

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Aug 30, 2002
Messages
802
IME, they are not only not created equal, they're going to work well in some guitars and not in others. I've got three Les Pauls with them right now in which I think they sound fantastic...but I had a fourth that I wound up selling because I didn't like the way the Custombuckers sounded (and I didn't want to mod the guitar, it was a CC and I wasn't crazy about the neck on it...) I also tried about 4 or 5 recent 335s with Custombuckers that were totally yawns for me. But then I heard this one...


...and boy, I'd love to own that guitar! I think many (though not all) of the Wildwood spec humbucker guitars I've heard sound fantastic with them.
 
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programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
Yeah, I guess stars can align and you find a really good one. We don't all look for the same things. I briefly had a 2015 Memphis es-335 with Wildwood spec CBs. I sold that one quickly. Very weak.

I'm lucky to have an all original '64 es-335 now, with patent# pickups (basically late PAFs). It's killer.., very bright and clear, rich harmonics.
IMG-2670.jpg
 

goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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8,934
I've got 3 CB loaded guitars and have put different magnets in the neck pups of 2 of them(A2 and A5), gives both of them a boost and a clearer sound.
 

DANELECTRO

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Feb 24, 2003
Messages
6,320
I have three guitars (2017, 2018, 2020) which up until this afternoon still had their stock CBs . I think that they sound really good, although after spending a couple hours doing A-B tests last week, I came to the conclusion that I still like Throbak and Wizz pups a little more. I had a spare set of Throbak DT-102s and Wizz PAFs in the parts drawer so I decided to go ahead and install the DT-102s into my 2020 R8. If it weren't for already having the pickups lying around. I would be content with leaving the stocks CBs in the guitar. I think they're great pickups.

I believe its been a year or two since Jared Brandon joined up with Gibson as their pickup guru. I'm sure they didn't hire him just to keep a seat warm, so I expect that we'll be seeing the next gen of PAFs sometime soon.
 

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
I've got 3 CB loaded guitars and have put different magnets in the neck pups of 2 of them(A2 and A5), gives both of them a boost and a clearer sound.
Very interesting. I've seen A3 described as having clarity. I definitely want to try some different magnets now. Thanks!
 

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
I believe its been a year or two since Jared Brandon joined up with Gibson as their pickup guru. I'm sure they didn't hire him just to keep a seat warm, so I expect that we'll be seeing the next gen of PAFs sometime soon.
I like his 1959 clones a lot. Great balance with the different winds for neck and bridge.
 

goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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8,934
Very interesting. I've seen A3 described as having clarity. I definitely want to try some different magnets now. Thanks!

The A5 is the most strident sounding and can completely change the character of the guitars sound, the A2 to me is a good 50/50 option.
Tried the A4 also but it didn't do it for me in either case.
Now here's a trick for middle position playing............ with both volume knobs at 10, take the volume back to say 8.5 on the volume of the neck pup, that gives a brighter tone, more bite and growl.
Apparently EC does this with his 2 pup gibbys.
 

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
The A5 is the most strident sounding and can completely change the character of the guitars sound, the A2 to me is a good 50/50 option.
Tried the A4 also but it didn't do it for me in either case.
Now here's a trick for middle position playing............ with both volume knobs at 10, take the volume back to say 8.5 on the volume of the neck pup, that gives a brighter tone, more bite and growl.
Apparently EC does this with his 2 pup gibbys.
Well, I took them out but I could not get the covers off. I need a bigger solder iron or something. Anyway, so I removed the Brandonwound 59 clones from my standard instead, and installed them in the R9. Problem solved. It sounds really good now. Bright and punchy. Those pickups have A4s, a little flatter spectrum perhaps, but I have A2s in my Goldtop so it's good to have some variety.
 

Any Name You Wish

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Apr 15, 2021
Messages
501
Yes the neck pickup is usually the problem child. I have an easy solution though. I play through an Origin Effects Revival Drive that has a mid boost foot switch switch and that takes the mud out of the neck pickup no problem. I don't always want that though. The darker/smoother tone works sometimes too. I'm using the stock Wildwood underwound fyi.
 

TM1

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Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,355
I’m not a Custombucker fan! I got a ‘64 reissue ES-335 in 2020 right after the Custom Shop reopened! It’s an amazing guitar but I hated the Customsucker! I had a set of 1964 Pat.#’s from an SG. I put those in and haven’t looked back! It actually sounds and plays like a mid-Sixties 335!
 

Crash

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Apr 7, 2023
Messages
17
I just took delivery of my 68 RI. I quite like the custombucker pickups. I could brighten them up with a set of Roto Yellows. But for now I'll keep with the Gibson Vintage Reissue strings.
May even try the Silk wrapped Les Paul string.
If all my guitars sounded the same. What would be the point?
 

programmer

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Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
36
I just took delivery of my 68 RI. I quite like the custombucker pickups. I could brighten them up with a set of Roto Yellows. But for now I'll keep with the Gibson Vintage Reissue strings.
May even try the Silk wrapped Les Paul string.

Congrats on the new guitar!

If all my guitars sounded the same. What would be the point?
Seems a bit of a straw man. Did anyone say they want that?
 
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